T. alt.: [Eine geglückte Feuerprobe mit Film ausgeführt Sonnabend den 18. August 1923 in der Nähe von Stockholms Gaswerk am See Värten unter der Leitung der staatlichen Prüfungsanstalt]. Prod.: A/B Svensk Filmindustri. 35mm. L.: 219 m. D.: 8’ a 24 f/s. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

This short subject documents an experiment, commissioned by Sweden’s leading studio Svensk Filmindustri, to test the effectiveness of a specially constructed concrete container against nitrate film fires. According to the title cards, up to half a million metres of nitrate film were set alight in the interest of determining the ideal method of constructing film storage vaults. Silent film history folklore is replete with tales of how film studios and distributors frivolously discarded their old films once they were no longer deemed commercially valuable, unaware that they might one day gain in another kind of cultural value. Watching the flames and smoke emanate from the container’s vents, one can’t help but wonder whether prints of Mauritz Stiller’s debut Mor och dotter (1912) or Victor Sjöström’s Strejken (1915), both now considered lost, were among the items deemed expendable. (Readers will please note, the fact that no other Swedish film from 1923 is screening in the A Hundred Years Ago section this year is purely coincidental!)

Oliver Hanley and Magnus Rosborn

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